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Since dramatic romances are often the main focus of these games and are necessary to lead the stories along their branching paths, you are expected to fulfill your obligation as a good sport and at least attempt to fall in love.Or else the game really won't know what to do with you, and thus you will be punished. Non-romantic visual novels do exist for those who don't want to opt in to this particular character-focused experience, but for this article we’ll be limiting ourselves to the love simulation variety.This isn't Persona 4, you can't get away with dating them all at once.Japanese dating sim players often refer to the romanceable characters in the games as "capturable." Whether you want to interpret that as literal or prefer to see yourself as "captivating" the various characters’ attentions is up to you, and sometimes up to the particular game’s themes.Your character may speak of destiny and true love, but you as the player know better and are keeping a meta tally of all your conquests.Japanese cultural critic Hiroki Azuma wrote in his translated book Otaku: Japan’s Database Animals about the contradiction of the dual desire for small narratives and grand non-narrative databases, little quantum set-pieces at the expense of a linear canon story.Many folks never see Hatoful Boyfriend subtly transform into its final revelatory route that blows everyone's minds.
Characters who are hale and hearty in one route will up and die in another, enemies become friends and vice versa.
The first ending many people experience when playing notorious pigeon dating sim Hatoful Boyfriend involves being ambushed by ninjas for "failing to display sufficient intimacy with the birds." You are unceremoniously killed and brought back to the main menu to start over from the beginning or are forced to resume from an earlier save point.
Dating simulation games like Hatoful Boyfriend most often take the form of visual novels, interactive text adventures with images and animations accompanying the branching story.
While the tools offered by these games tacitly encourage narrative manipulation, such as skipping of prior-read text, jumping directly to decision points, massive amounts of save slots, gallery completion percentages, and new game plus content, unfortunately the user experience design isn't there to train someone completely new to this experience.
And this is where us in the West run into misconceptions about the depth of these games.